After waiting months for Congress to approve a second stimulus check, Rachael Flanagan, 34, planned to use her payment to pay some bills and feed her two children. But despite millions of payments sent by the IRS, the New Hampshire resident still hasn’t received hers.
Instead, she gets a “Payment #2 Status – Unavailable” message from the IRS’s Get My Payment tool, which aims to track the status of each taxpayer’s stimulus check. But according to the agency, that status means she won’t automatically receive the payment, and will instead have to claim a tax credit on her 2020 tax return.
“It’s extremely frustrating for my family because my job has caused us to lose our food stamps, so this little bit would help us,” Flanagan says. She called the IRS for help eight times, she says, to no avail.
Taylor Hill, 25, is facing a similar situation. The mother of two toddlers planned to use the stimulus check to pay for groceries and bills in the coming weeks. But so far, she has not received payment and is unable to reach the IRS.
“My bank account is only $47,” Hill says.
Flanagan and Hill are far from alone. After reporting that the IRS said some people won’t receive their incentive checks until after they file their 2020 taxes, CNBC Make It received thousands of emails this week from Americans who were counting on the money to pay their bills and feeling frustrated. that the IRS does not provide answers or updates for them.
Many people told CNBC Make It that after calling the IRS about their checks, they sometimes had to wait hours for the connection to be disconnected. The IRS tells people not to call with questions and instead check the website for updates. But the agency’s site offers few answers to all the questions out there.
“I am so disgusted,” wrote one man who has not yet received his check.
“I find it very hard to believe that the US government is so incompetent,” wrote another.
IRS sent millions of payments to wrong bank accounts
One of the reasons millions have not yet received the payments is because the IRS has “accidentally sent payments to more than 13 million bank accounts that are no longer open or valid,” according to tax preparer Jackson Hewitt.
Other tax preparation firms, including Republic Bank Taxpayer Solutions, TaxAct, Chime and TurboTax, have also released statements blaming the IRS for the mix-ups and delays in incentive payments.
“Unfortunately, due to an IRS error, millions of payments were sent to the wrong accounts and some may not have received their stimulus payment,” TurboTax wrote in a statement Wednesday. “We’ve worked tirelessly on a resolution with the Treasury and the IRS.”
The company expects the checks to be in the correct accounts “within days”.
While the tax companies work to reassure clients, the IRS has not directly acknowledged the errors, only saying that problems could arise because the agency must send all payments by Jan. 15. The agency has not answered specific questions about CNBC Make It’s issues, instead directing reporters to the Payments FAQ section on its website. It did not clarify why or how many payments were made to incorrect bank accounts.
“Due to the speed with which the law required the IRS to issue the second round of Economic Impact Payments, some payments may have been sent to an account that may have been closed or may or may not be active anymore,” the agency says.
IRS Doesn’t Give Enough Answers
But that statement doesn’t make sense to many Americans, including Louisiana native Samantha Tanielu, who says she got the first payment last year with no issues or delays; none of her personal bank details have changed since then, so she doesn’t understand why there are problems receiving the money this time.
“Bills and food are the main things my stimulus check goes to,” said Tanielu, who has tried contacting her local IRS office for answers but received no response.
All of this has left many Americans feeling let down by the government in their time of need.
“We’re not tax fraudsters, identity thieves, or people who try to get something for nothing,” said Chad Abel-Kops, a 50-year-old New Hampshire resident who hasn’t received the first or second stimulus payment and can’t reach anyone at the IRS to ask. to help him .
“We are law-abiding Americans who have followed instructions, filed returns on time and correctly, and not once has the IRS just said, ‘We’re sorry.’”
Checking out: ‘Status unavailable:’ IRS says these taxpayers won’t automatically receive a second stimulus check
Do not miss: The Best Credit-Building Credit Cards of 2021